As Adrian Higgins pointed out ["Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is; Decades of Makeovers Alter Apple to Its Core," front page, Aug. 5], many Americans no longer want to eat Red Delicious apples. He told of the apple's demise in deliciousness, brought on by the higher profits growers could command from breeding for thick skin that didn't taste as good but could withstand longer storage and still look pretty. But even if consumers aren't buying these apples, they still have to pay for them.

Starting in 2001, as the Red Delicious share dipped below 50 percent of the apple harvest in Washington state -- down from three-quarters of all the apples that were grown in the state in the 1980s -- growers began to receive market-loss assistance payments.

From 2001 to 2003 they took in $133.8 million in subsidies, part of a nationwide $261.7 million. Red Delicious growers thus joined the ranks of those who farm commodity crops such as rice, wheat, sugar and corn and who take our tax dollars to grow an excess of products the market can't support.

So, next time you're at the supermarket, throw a few Red Delicious apples in your cart. Eat them or not, you're paying for them anyway.


Environmental Working Group


Adrian Higgins's article on the Red Delicious dealt with all kinds of agricultural, commercial, climatic and gastronomic reasons for the apple's decline.

But to me, its thick and lustrously polished coating has been made so shiny that it seems to be more a creation of a laboratory than a product of nature.

Because of its chemically extended shelf life, the Red Delicious still may serve as an excuse for a dessert for econ- omy-class in-flight meals or school lunches, but for me it has lost its natural appeal along with its taste.